Watching the oscars, rapping about them with the fun @jilliancyork, and waiting to see if Ajami, the gritty ghetto tale of the Jaffa neighborhood, by Israeli film makers Skandar Copti (Arab), and Yaron Shani (Jew) manages to upset the favorite German film White Ribbon and snag the "movie with subtitles" award.
Ajami had most of the populace here pulling for it - until about 24 hours ago, or less, when someone served Mr. Copti with a grapefruit of a pitch - something about "how does it feel to represent Israel", and Copti took a really matter of fact, not really defiant swing at the pitch and explained that he is not there to "represent Israel"
"but...aren't you an Israeli citizen?"
- "Yes, I'm an Israeli citizen, but I can't represent a state that doesn't represent me."
Oh... snap! How dare he? The ingrate!! Limor Livnat, our "Culture Minister" (oh cleo, muse of history, how cruel thy mocking irony) took the opportunity to reclaim her darling lost spotlight and huff that "without the State of Israel he wouldn't be on the red carpet" - which may well be true, money-wise, and yet doesn't change the fact that Copti's feelings are undeniably justified.
It is embarassing to have it shown so starkly how Israel, the modern, Only Democracy in the Middle East, hi tech empire blah blah, is 40 years behind on issues of minority relations.
"you my enemy, you my opposer when I want justice, you my opposer when I want peace. You want me to go to vietnam and fight for you? I wanna fight I'll stay home and fight you all right here!" (quoted from memory and from the film, not the original footage)
Muhammad Ali, another star who refused to pretend to love the system just because he happened to climb the ladder, said those words almost two generations ago. Now in Israel we need a young brave film maker from Yaffa, not a heavyweight champion, to fight that needless battle again. Yes, Virginia. There is a ghetto in Israel, only it isn't for Jews. And no, Virginia, the ghetto people aren't grateful it ain't even worse. They want (gasp) equality. they want simple justice. And like 40+ years ago half the globe away, the equation still holds true: No justice - No peace.
Go Ajami. Go Scandar. Go Yaron.
(Update: The Peruvian took the subtitle oscar. Oh well. Now the police here can continue to harass and arrest the Copti family members in relative obscurity...)
(regular readers: a regular edition of the WHU is in the works. please rate and comment on this meanwhile. Thank you flying the crazy skies.)